Pierce Arrow 48-SS Demi-Tonneau

Car producer : 

Pierce Arrow


48-SS Demi-Tonneau





For 1910, the Pierce-Arrow line was established in a form that would continue for the next decade. Three basic chassis were offered, the 36, 48, and 66. All cars now had six cylinder engines. Prices ranged from $3850 for the 36hp runabout to $7200 for the 66hp landau. This triple line of cars would continue to propel the Pierce-Arrow reputation of quality and luxury.

Pierce-Arrow continued the triple line-up of cars available in 1910 throughout the decade. While there were continual refinements over the years, the heritage of these cars is evident. The smallest of the three models was the 36-UU mounted on a 119 inch wheelbase and selling for $3850. The 36hp model had a 4" x 4 3/4" six cylinder engine with the cylinders cast in pairs. The mid-sized car was the 48-SS, having a 4 1/2 inch x 4 3/4 inch six cylinder engine. The top of the line was the 66-QQ mounded on a 134 inch wheelbase and having a 5 1/4 x 5 1/2 six cylinder engine.

For 1913, the cars now offered electric headlights, although the trademark fender-mounted headlights did not appear until 1914. The 1913 cars also had a self-starter of the compressed air variety. An electric starter was used in 1914. The 1913 cars, known as Series One, had grown from the 1910 versions. The 38-C-1 (formerly the 36-UU) now had 132 inch wheelbase; the 48-B-1 was stretched to 142 inches; and the 66-A-1 was mounted on a 147 1/2 inch wheelbase. The engine in the 66 had also grown to a 5x7 bore & stroke. This pushed the displacement to 824 cubic inches, t e largest production automobile engine ever made.

The Series Three cars of 1915 added a pressure fuel system to replace the gravity system of the earlier cars. The pressure system used a small hand-pump on the dash and a cam-driven pump on the engine to provide a small amount of air pressure in the rear-mounted tank to push the gasoline to the carburettor, which was now mounted higher.

The Series Four cars appeared in 1916 and were continued into 1918. There were minor changes between the Series 4 cars and the earlier Series Three cars. While the passenger cars being produced appeared to change only slightly, there were many changes happening at Pierce-Arrow. The company was quite successful, with profits of $4 million annually. In 1916, the Company began an expansion effort on its Elmwood Avenue factory and offered for sale $10.7 million in public stock. This was the first public offering of Pierce-Arrow stock. It was also this year that Pierce-Arrow president George Birge retired, selling approximately half of his Pierce-Arrow stock for $7 million, quite a tidy sum of money at the time.

In 1914 Pierce-Arrow adopted its most enduring styling hallmark when its headlights were moved from a traditional placement on either side of the radiator into flared housings molded into the front fenders of the car. This gave the car an immediately visible distinction from the front and from either side. At night, the car appeared to have a wider stance. Pierce patented this placement, which endured until the final model of 1938, although Pierce always offered the customer the option of conventional headlamps. Only a minority ordered the option.

After the War, the Series Five passenger cars were introduced in 1918. Still a refinement of the earlier cars, the Series Five cars had a dual-valve engine. While still a "T" head arrangement of the earlier models, the Series 5 cars had two intake and two exhaust valves per cylinder. The dual-valve engine gave an increase in performance over the earlier single-valve cars. The big 66hp and the small 38hp models were discontinued, however. Only the mid-sized car remained in the 48-B-5.

Starting in 1918, Pierce-Arrow adopted a four-valve per cylinder T-head inline-six engine (Dual Valve Six), one of the few, if only, multi-valve flathead design engines ever made.

The Dual-Valve Six would be continued, with modifications through the 1928 Series 36 models

Sold for: 852500 USD
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